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Sheba Treats a Palestinian Toddler with Innovative Life-saving Skin Treatment

baby hand
A ravaging house fire left 18-month old Shams Ismail in critical condition, with burns on over 50% of her small body. She was rushed to the National Burn Unit at Sheba Medical Center, where top experts saved her life. Highly skilled surgeons treated her with an innovative skin growth therapy that had never yet been performed in Israel. Ismail is now in stable condition and on a journey to a miraculous recovery.

During Ismail’s first few days at Sheba, extensive skin damage left her hovering between life and death. Prof. Josef Haik, Dr. Moti Harats, Dr. Gregory Troddler, and Dr. Ayelet Di Segni treated her by utilizing Sheba’s advanced Kauffmann-Green Skin Engineering Laboratory. The team of plastic surgeons took a few millimeters of Ismail’s own remaining healthy skin and grew it in the laboratory. Within 10 days, enough new skin had grown for them to cover her burned stomach area.

“Using one’s own skin to grow additional skin in a laboratory and graft it back onto the body is essentially the best skin treatment available to burn victims today,” said Prof. Haik, Director of the National Burn Center at Sheba Medical Center. “When Ismail came to us, she was in a very severe condition with no certainty of survival. Our highly talented team of medical experts at Sheba Medical Center was able to treat her with this new method, and now we are beginning a long and hopeful rehabilitation regimen on the road to recovery.”

Prof. Haik performed Innovative Skin Treatment
Prof. Haik, Director of the National Burn Center at Sheba Medical Center

Ismail presently remains hospitalized at Sheba, where she continues to receive skin grafts and benefit from the expertise of Dr. Haik and his team.

The procedure used to treat Ismail was the first time that a leading-edge skin bank was used for a burn case of this severity. However, Ismail’s skin treatment is not the first time that Sheba worked to spread peace by providing medical care. Last year, Sheba’s surgeons performed critical heart surgery on the infant of Syrian refugees. Sheba also recently announced the launch of I-PEARLS (Israel Pediatric Aesthetic and Reconstructive Laser Surgery), which was established to provide life-changing therapies to pediatric burn victims.

Sheba takes pride in providing medicine without borders, indiscriminately treating patients of all nationalities, races, and religions. In recognition of its humanitarian mission and exceptional medical services, Sheba was ranked in 2019 as one of the “10 Best Hospitals in the World” by Newsweek Magazine.

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